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Zookeeper

Zookeeper

(bellecitypop!; US: 6 Nov 2007; UK: Available as import)

Chris Simpson was last seen fronting the influential emo outfit The Gloria Record. Several years after that band’s demise, Simpson has re-emerged under the Zookeeper name, playing loose, Beatlesque indie-pop. Previously available via download and the record label website only, this 2006 debut EP is being given wide release to coincide with Zookeeper’s first full-length. Most of the five tracks here are borne from jam sessions with Simpson and lots of his friends, with members of Okkervil River and Friends of Dean Martinez among them. The free-flowing, ramshackle sound is buoyed by Simpson’s knack for mood and melody; “I Live in the Mess You Are” is like a catchy-quirky Lindsey Buckingham gem, while the triumphant “Delivery Room” is as warm as a newborn. Simpson’s untethered warble isn’t well-suited to this stuff, but in the end the music wins out. In particular, fans of Grant Lee Buffalo and Bennett-era Wilco should take notice.

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John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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Zookeeper - I Live in the Mess You Are (Live)
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6 Jan 2008
After some much needed time off, genre-jumping songwriter Chris Simpson and his new band offer up a debut that makes you re-evaluate your "best of the year" album list.
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